WITH Christmas party season upon us and more reasons to be merry, police are stepping up their campaign to target drink-drivers.

Thames Valley Police launched Operation Holly yesterday, which will run until January 1 to protect the public from drug and alcohol-related crashes.

During the month-long operation, motorists can expect to see police carrying out breath tests, drug tests and impairment tests at the roadside, to deter anyone from getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.

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Sergeant Scott Kerr, road safety sergeant for Hampshire and Thames Valley Police said: "Every year officers deal with cases of drink or drug driving that directly result in families facing Christmas without loved ones.

"Even the smallest amount of alcohol or drugs in your system can affect your ability to drive safely.

"Friends, colleagues and family members can positively influence those around them, so we are calling on them to stop potential drink or drug drivers from getting behind the wheel and risking tragedy this Christmas."

On average, 20 per cent of all fatal collisions involve an impairment from drink or drugs.

In Hampshire and the Thames Valley, about 400 drink drivers are caught out every month.

Police want people to report drink and drug drivers with as much information and detail as possible so they can be targeted, calling 999 if there is an immediate risk to the public.

The force wants those who know someone who drink or drug drives to report them online or via 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, to help catch them out.

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Sergeant Kerr said: "We’ll be running targeted operations across the region to enforce the law on drink and drug driving.

"You can face a fine of up to £5,000, disqualification from driving, and a lengthy prison sentence.

"If you know someone who drink or drug drives you can help by reporting them on 101 or call 999 if they are driving or immediately about to drive under the influence.

"I am urging people to plan ahead during the festive season, to think about how you’re going to get home, and don’t forget about the impact alcohol and drugs can still have the morning after’.

"Our message is simple: Don’t drink or drug drive – It’s not worth the risk."